Update on H1N1 (Swine Flu) in the Western Cape: 12 August 2009 | Western Cape Government



Update on H1N1 (Swine Flu) in the Western Cape: 12 August 2009

11 August 2009

The Cape Gateway hotline response call centre - 0860 142 142 - is receiving an increasing number of calls from the public. At the moment the call centre operates during office hours, and will also be available over the coming weekend.

Here follows some frequently asked questions and replies, with some new information that will be valuable for the public:

When to seek emergency care:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or grey skin colour
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with fever and worse cough

Take medications as prescribed:

  • Take medications for symptom relief as needed for fever and pain such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. These medicines do not need to be taken regularly if your symptoms improve.
  • Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or products that contain aspirin to children or teenagers 18 years old and younger.
  • Children younger than 4 years of age should not be given over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a health care provider.
  • Should you be prescribed antiviral medication, take it as directed.
  • Continue to cover your cough and wash your hands often, to prevent spreading influenza to others.
  • Call the clinic/GP if the patient experiences any side effects; i.e. nausea, vomiting, rash, or unusual behaviour.

Are there any dangers for pregnant women?

Yes. Evidence from previous pandemics further supports the conclusion that pregnant women are at heightened risk. While pregnant women are also at increased risk during epidemics of seasonal influenza, the risk takes on added importance in the current pandemic, which continues to affect a younger age group than that seen during seasonal epidemics. While treatment within 48 hours of symptom onset brings the greatest benefits, later initiation of treatment may also be beneficial.

Can I treat H1N1 with flu medication?

In case of mild symptoms, yes.

Can I use over-the-counter pharmacy medicine or antibiotics?

Yes, but anti-biotics can only be prescribed by a doctor.

Can ordinary flu turn into swine flu?


If a child sneezes at a school, must I still send my children to school or can I keep them at home?

A sick child should stay at home and healthy children should be in school. Also make your child aware of what to do if someone coughs or sneezes...stand 2 meters away, teach cough etiquette, good hygiene practices etc. If a sibling has contracted swine flu, must the other children be kept in isolation? The sick child must be kept in isolation as far as possible. Try keeping the child in his own space and don't let him share the same bed.

When does the H1N1 virus become infectious?

From the onset of flu like symptoms, until 24 hours after the symptoms have disappeared.

In children, is recovery the same in all kids or does it differ from person to person and is this dependent on one's immune system?

Recovery and duration for recovery differ from person to person depending on the strength of their immune systems.

For more information, visit www.westerncape.gov.za/eng/pubs/public_info/S/183700

Note to media: The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) will be issuing weekly updates on confirmed H1N1 cases, and the Western Cape Provincial Government will issue those weekly numbers, together with a map that highlights the infected areas.

Please address questions that relate to individual H1N1 cases to the NICD.

Media statement jointly issued by the following Provincial Ministers:

Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha
Western Cape Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Dr. Ivan Meyer

Media Enquiries: 

Media Liaison / Interview Requests:

Health: Hélène Rossouw
Cell: 082 771 8834
Email: herossou@pgwc.gov.za

Education: Bronagh Casey
Cell: 072 724 1422
Email: brcasey@pgwc.gov.za

Social Development: Danny Abrahams
Cell: 083 280 5535
Email: dabraham@pgwc.gov.za